Dozens of anxious toddlers, tweens, teenagers, and parents waited eagerly outside of room W111 of the Ezra Taft Benson Building to attend one of the several magic shows held annually by BYU’s Department of Chemistry during National Chemistry Week, which was held October 17 through October 21, 2016.
Amidst cheers and squeals from the crowd, BYU professors displayed some of chemistry’s most thrilling experiments to audience members, eliminating the sometimes negative perceptions of the science.
“Our theme this year is mystery,” said BYU professor Jeffrey Macedone during one night of the event. “So that’s my theme today–solving mysteries through chemistry.”
Macedone divided his magic show into two parts: solving seven different chemistry mysteries and then presenting seven explosive demonstrations.
“I love chemistry; I could talk about this all day,” Macedone said.
Creating fire from ice, producing molten iron from rust, forming fire tornados, and blowing up butane-filled balloons were just a few of the many “magic tricks” presented during the event.
Stoney McCoard, a Cub Scout leader from Provo, took his Webelos scout group up to BYU campus to experience the show.
“They were just jumping out of their seats! They were so excited about this,” McCoard said. “In fact, we were all excited and cheering. This is a wonderful event.”
It wasn’t just scouts and kids who were in attendance. Alex Martineau, a biotechnology student at Utah Valley University, attended a magic show as part of a tour of BYU’s chemistry post-doc program.
“I thought it was very well done. It was pretty entertaining,” Martineau said. “[They] did a really good job explaining it for the kids, simplifying it so it’s easy to understand.”
For over 20 years, the magic shows have been inspiring audiences of all ages, and this year was no different.